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What Happened on the
Thick and fast things were happening to Danny Meadow Mouse down on the snow-covered Green Meadows. Rather, they were almost happening. He hadn’t minded when Reddy Fox all alone tried to catch him. Indeed, he had made a regular game of hide and seek of it and had enjoyed it immensely. But now it was different. Granny Fox wasn’t so easily fooled as Reddy Fox. Just Granny alone would have made the game dangerous for Danny Meadow Mouse.
But Reddy was with her, and so Danny had two to look out for, and he got so many frights that it seemed to him as if his heart had moved right up into his mouth and was going to stay there. Yes, sir, that is just how it seemed.
Down in his little tunnels underneath the snow Danny Meadow Mouse felt perfectly safe from Reddy Fox, who would stop and dig frantically at the little round doorway where he had last seen Danny. But old Granny Fox knew all about those little tunnels, and she didn’t waste any time digging at the doorways.
Instead she cocked her sharp little ears and listened with all her might. Now Granny Fox has very keen ears, oh, very keen ears, and she heard just what she hoped she would hear. She heard Danny Meadow Mouse running along one of his little tunnels under the snow.
Plunge! Old Granny Fox dived right into the snow and right through into the tunnel of Danny Meadow Mouse. Her two black paws actually touched Danny’s tail. He was glad then that it was no longer.
“Ha!” cried Granny Fox, “I almost got him that time!”
Then she ran ahead a little way over the snow, listening as before. Plunge! Into the snow she went again. It was lucky for him that Danny had just turned into another tunnel, for otherwise she would surely have caught him.Granny Fox blew the snow out of her nose.
“Next time I’ll get him!” said she.
Now Reddy Fox is quick to learn, especially when it is a way to get something to eat. He watched Granny Fox, and when he understood what she was doing, he made up his mind to have a try himself, for he was afraid that if she caught Danny Meadow Mouse, she would think that he was not big enough to divide. Perhaps that was because Reddy is very selfish himself. So the next time Granny plunged into the snow and missed Danny Meadow Mouse just as before, Reddy rushed in ahead of her, and the minute he heard Danny running down below, he plunged in just as he had seen Granny do.
But he didn’t take the pains to make sure of just where Danny was, and so of course he didn’t come anywhere near him. But he frightened Danny still more and made old Granny Fox lose her temper.
Poor Danny Meadow Mouse! He had never been so frightened in all his life. He didn’t know which way to turn or where to run. And so he sat still, which, although he didn’t know it, was the very best thing he could do. When he sat still he made no noise, and so of course Granny and Reddy Fox could not tell where he was.
Old Granny Fox sat and listened and listened and listened, and wondered where Danny Meadow Mouse was. And down under the snow Danny Meadow Mouse sat and listened and listened and listened, and wondered where Granny and Reddy Fox were.
“Pooh!” said Granny Fox after a while, “that Meadow Mouse thinks he can fool me by sitting still. I’ll give him a scare.”
Then she began to plunge into the snow this way and that way, and sure enough, pretty soon she landed so close to Danny Meadow Mouse that one of her claws scratched him.